The Essential Practice: Being Within

“So the whole thing could be briefly stated thus: go within and enter a state of spiritual awareness, motivate your life activity or spiritual tone, then proceed in the ascetical order you have arranged.”

from “The Path To Salvation” by St. Theophan the Recluse

“Our whole task may be reduced to the following rule: collecting yourself within, recover your spiritual self-awareness, set to work inwardly, and, prepared in this way, practice the external duties imposed upon you either by your spiritual director or by Providence. But while doing this you must watch and notice with strict and unwavering attention everything that arises within you. As soon as some passion is awakened, chase it away and strike it down, both mentally and actively, not forgetting to rekindle within yourself and rouse to warmth the spirit of contrition and of sorrow for your sins.”

from E. Kadloubovsky and E. M. Palmer (trans), “The Art of Prayer,” (London: Faber & Faber, 1966), pp.

“The principal thing is to stand with the mind in the heart before God, and to go on standing before Him unceasingly day and night, until the end of life.”

— St. Theophan – Igumen Chariton of Valamo: /The Art of Prayer: An Orthodox Anthology/ p63

“If anyone complains that he would like the fruit but the labor it takes to get it is too hard, the answer is: Good. There is an easier method, a method simpler than the one laid out. Here it is! Repent; then, with zeal for keeping all of God’s commandments, walk unfailingly in the Lord’s presence, striving for Him with all your mind’s attention, all your heart’s feelings, and all your will’s desires. If you thus dispose yourself, you will soon meet the Lord. He will come down to you and abide in you, as in the embrace of Righteous Simeon. There is no other way to lighten the labor needed to seek a meeting with the Lord. The Jesus Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, is powerful and strong to help in this work. Again, however, not by itself; but under the condition that all the strength of our spirit be directed toward the Lord! Be sober, be vigilant (1 Pet. 5:8). Seek those things which are above … and your life is hid with Christ in God (Col. 3:1, 3). Then, having become one in spirit with the Lord (cf. 1 Cor. 6:17), you will behold and embrace the Lord, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you (Jn 16:22), neither in this age, nor in the age to come. Amen.”

-St. Theophan the Recluse – from a sermon for the Meeting of the Lord

“This inner task, which you must practice in anything you do — the task of directing your thoughts, feelings and actions only towards pleasing God, will seem difficult at first, but will later become easy and light, if, firstly you constantly exercise yourself in this spiritual effort and, secondly, if you constantly keep warm your yearning for God, sighing for Him with a live longing of the heart, as for the only perfect good, worthy of being sought for Its Own sake, to be served, and to be loved above all things.”

-Unseen Warfare

Essential Activity

“The recollection (or remembrance) of God is mentally standing before God in the heart.”

“Everywhere and always God is with us, near to us and in us. But we are not always with Him, since we do not remember Him; and because we do not remember Him, we allow ourselves many things which we would not permit if we did remember.”

“The more firmly you are established in the recollection of God, the more quiet your thoughts will become and the less they will wander.”

“Remembrance of God is something that God Himself grafts upon the soul. But the soul must force itself to persevere and to toil. Work, making every effort to attain the unceasing remembrance of God, and God, seeing how fervently you desire it will give you this constant remembrance of Himself.”

“To succeed in this remembrance it is advisable to accustom oneself to the continual repetition of the Jesus Prayer, ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me,’ holding in mind the thought of God’s nearness, His presence in the heart.”

“To pray does not only mean to stand in prayer. To keep the mind and heart turned towards God and directed towards Him…this is already prayer.”